Fears as smoke pollution drifts into Sheffield’s Rivelin Valley

People living in Sheffield’s Rivelin Valley have raised environmental and health concerns after smoke pollution from the moors has been seen drifting through their neighbourhood.

Grouse moor burning in the Peak District has recently led to smoke spreading to areas such as Hillsborough and the Rivelin Valley.

The smoke has prompted numerous complaints on social media from individuals who have been affected.

Peter Machan said: “If we are so concerned about air quality, how can this environmentally damaging practice be justified or allowed?”

The controversial practice involves burning off heather and other vegetation to create conditions suitable for grouse shooting.

Environmentalists have raised concerns about the impact of the burning on local wildlife and the wider environment.

Sheffield woman Wendy Birks, 64, who often walks in the Peak District, said: “Lots of us think it is time to stop burning these moors. After all, it is done in the cause of an expensive hobby that most people cannot possibly afford.”

The practice has been going on for decades and campaigners say it has detrimental impacts on biodiversity and exacerbates climate change.

Part of the Peak District following grouse moor burning. Pictures taken by Wendy Birks

A primary concern is that the burning can damage peat bogs, which are essential carbon-rich stores crucial for mitigating climate change.

However, carbon is released into the atmosphere when peat is burned, adding to greenhouse gas emissions.

Environmentalists say this poses a threat to public health and it has given rise to complaints from people who live in the nearby area of the moors, who may be prone to breathing in noxious fumes. 

Degraded peatlands are also less effective at holding back rainfall, increasing the risk of flooding downstream.

Campaign groups such as Wild Moors raise awareness of these concerns, seeking to protect and strengthen wildlife, habitats and communities.

They aim to restore the natural environment of these areas and transition away from intensive management of moorland for grouse shooting.

The group echoes the voices of individuals such as Ms Birks, who added: “Many of us would like to see these moors managed in an environmentally sustainable way.”

Due to growing health and environmental concerns, this controversial issue continues to cause uproar amongst people in Sheffield.

Many individuals ask the government to promote alternative forms of land management or ban the practice altogether.

Written by Gus Ballantine

You May Also Like…